Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wow, it has been a long time since we blogged here!

A great deal has happened since the previous blog! Firstly, Máiréad's birthday fest went off wonderfully thanks to the hard working folks at the PBS station in Springfield Illinois and a little added pressure to correct an error. Forum folks were right up front to help make the night special for her and also for her friends on stage. Great fun with interactions made it a wonderful show on top of being a wonderful show!!! Late in the show we unveiled a birthday banner designed by dutchfan Henny. At the after show Máiréad did the first meet & greet on her birthday that we know of. She shared honors with the delightful Lisa Kelly. Lots of photos, gifts, and a lot of smiles and tears. It was a fantastic night from start to finish and we hope great memories for Máiréad.

Forum folks attended quite a few shows on the tour and familiar faces were there up front right until the finale in Austin. Many felt it important to be there as some thought it may be the final SFTH show in the states. It turned to be the case. Celtic Woman is now wrapping up that great show with a few stops in Europe and Japan. But not before a very well received tour of Germany and Austria.

News came earlier that Celtic Woman would do a Christmas symphony tour in December. These artists do a wonderful Christmas show but they have never toured one. So the avid fans out there are very excited about this new twist and have been snapping up good seats as best they can. Celtic Woman will be supported at nearly every show on that tour. It begins in California and goes all over the country and to Canada, wrapping up, hopefully, in Denver. We say hopefully as the ladies are traveling from Atlanta the day of the Denver show.

Perhaps the most exciting news was the recording of a new DVD and PBS special. Not totally unexpected but the location was. Atlanta at the fabulous Fox theater. And fabulous it was throughout the two day event. Notice was fairly short as it tends to be for these things yet the forum rallied the troops and got the word out so that a large number of familiar faces would greet Máiréad and company. Forum admin, Mike, rented a ballroom at the venue the day of the first show. It was billed as multi-forum and it was. It came complete with food and a birthday cake surprise for one of our moderators. This was also the site for recording a new fan documentary about the impact of Celtic Woman on their growing fan base. It was filmed in HD and is now in the editing process. Almost 150 people attended the Tuesday event in the ballroom and of those 135 were forum members or soon would be. The Chloe Agnew fan forum, Lisa Kelly fan forum, Lisa Lambe fan forum, and even a a few CWF folks were there and by all accounts it was a great lead in to that night. We wrapped it up with a group sing of You Raise Me Up by over 50 people plus instrumentalists. The next night we had a forums dinner that had almost 60 in attendance.

The new Celtic Woman show is called, Believe. And by the end of that first night we were all believers as were the artists. The show was beautiful and the usual mix David Downes is known for. Many Believe it is his best work to date. We'll leave that up to you. Máiréad did not have a huge solo role in the recording. She did not at Powerscourt either. Yet she was on stage a lot and again gave us a new fast air in the first act, the Foxhunter, which is a customary showcase piece for her playing and stage craft. It is likely a replacement for Granuaile's Dance on tour. Some were disappointed she did not have a second fast air in the first act. She did not at Powerscourt either. So we hope she will retain Coast of Galicia on the tour. In the second act she did her customary slow/fast combo. The slow air she introduced has an Irish name but translates to Women Of Ireland. It is very pretty and then followed up by a fast air that we are awaiting a title for. It likely is an Irish tune but most of us are not fully acquainted with many of those. In a change up Máiréad did not interact with her drummer friends but instead dueled with a fast footed gent from Riverdance. It was great fun for sure, and brought the audience to their feet as she always seems to do. In fact Celtic Woman got the audience they wanted and then some when after each of the 22 pieces performed they received a standing ovation. It was amazing and those on stage were taken aback by the reception. After the show the first night forum fans shared the neighboring pub with Celtic Woman choir, band, techs, and David Downes. It was a lovely way to wrap it up with a casual mingle. The show the next night was equally good though many of the familiar faces were seated well back. The audience was very good but did not approach the first night.

So, another new Celtic Woman showcase for the incomparable Máiréad Nesbitt will tour next year. Her new attire for the show as always is a perfect fit from Synan O'Mahoney. It has been another banner year for her to be sure. The forum is very grateful to be a small part of her experience. But the forum itself is also growing at now over 470 members. It also continues to grow on Facebook and Twitter. In Atlanta additional funds were raised for Máiréad's Oxfam charity and it is our hope to present the copy of the check to her in person the day of the Christmas show in Pittsburgh. It already far exceeds last year's total. We'll post another blog with a 2011 retrospective at the end of the year. Until then, thank you for supporting Máiréad in all of her musical endeavors.

Forum leadership team